Game 1: Sugar Land Skeeters 6, Chihuahuas 4 (7 Innings)
Key Statistics: 3B Nick Tanielu 2-4, RBI; CF Brian O’Grady 1-3, 2B, BB; 1B Gosuke Katoh 2-2, 2B, BB, SB (2); LF Matt Batten 1-2, BB, SB (13); LHP Nick Ramirez (L, 0-2) 5 H 2 R 2 ER 2 BB K HR
Game 2: Chihuahuas 2, Sugar Land Skeeters 1 (7 Innings)
Key Statistics: PH-DH Yorman Rodriguez 1-1, HR (1) (RBI); DH Luis Campusano 1-2, 2B, RBI; RHP Jordan Guerrero (W, 3-0) 2.0 IP 3 BB 2 K; RHP James Norwood 1.0 IP 2 K
Prospect Watch: El Paso dropped the opener, but the standout in the first game was former Rancho Bernardo High School star Gosuke Katoh. The left-handed-hitting Katoh, 26, the New York Yankees’ second-round pick in 2013, reached base three times on Saturday night. He signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent this past offseason after hitting .267/.362/.401 between Double-A and Triple-A for the Yankees in 2019. He impressed the Padres in Spring Training and with the Chihuahuas, he has played mainly first and second base, along with some corner outfield. He owns a .276/.362/.405 line with El Paso this season. … El Paso got the split in Game 2 when Yorman Rodriguez hit a pinch-hit solo home run off Michael Kelly – who San Diego drafted back in 2011 and was in the organization until 2017 – to give the Chihuahuas the lead. Rodriguez, 24, was a minor league Rule 5 pick-up from the Blue Jays organization. Although he has caught in the past the organization has used him as first baseman/DH with Fort Wayne, San Antonio and now El Paso. In 2019 he hit .360/.387/502 between short-season Vancouver in the Northwest League and Lansing in the Midwest. … Nick Ramirez was originally sent to El Paso on a rehab assignment last week, but was subsequently optioned there. The lefty gave up two runs on Saturday and has now surrendered six in 3.2 innings in his latest stint with the Chihuahuas. … In the nightcap, four relievers combined to allow just three hits in a scheduled bullpen outing. Evan Miller went 2.1 scoreless frames while Jordan Guerrero tossed a pair of clean innings.
The Missions game in Amarillo was postponed because of heavy rain and wet field conditions. The teams will play a seven-inning doubleheader on Sunday.
Lansing Lugnuts 3, TinCaps 1
Key Statistics: DH Tirso Ornelas 2-4, 2B; 1B Luis Almanzar 1-3, R; RHP Carlos Guarate (L, 0-3) 6 H 2 R 2 ER BB 3 K; LHP Sam Williams 2.0 IP 3 H R ER 2 K; LHP Mason Feole 1.0 IP 2 K
Prospect Watch: The TinCaps dropped their third in a row as the hitters struggled to generate any type of offense. Tirso Ornelas, 21, hit double number 25, which leads the High-A Central. The problem is the 6-foot-3, 225 pound Tijuana native only has a pair of home runs for a slash-line of .246/.338/.377. While Ornelas hits the ball hard on contact, he doesn’t elevate it enough on a consistent basis. … Carlos Guarate, 20, was a tough-luck loser in his third start since being promoted from Lake Elsinore. The righty allowed just two runs over six innings, getting batters to pound the ball into the ground. The 6-foot-2 Venezuelan signed in 2017 and performed well in the Arizona League in 2019 with a 6-1 record in nine starts and a 38:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 44. 2 innings. This year, he’s improved that ratio to 57:12, but has allowed a .266 average in 67.1 innings. … Mason Feole worked a perfect inning and struck out two. After a nightmarish start to his first professional season, the lefty has found his footing in the second half of this month. He’s turned in six straight scoreless outings, striking out seven against two hits and three walks.
Fresno Grizzlies 8, Storm 3
Key Statistics: DH Euribiel Angeles 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI; CF Robert Hassell III 2-5, SB (26); LF Angel Solarte 2-4; RHP Dwayne Matos 4.2 IP 8 H 3 R 3 ER 3 K; RHP Gabriel Morales (L, 2-3) 1.1 2 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB K; RHP Chase Walter 1.0 IP 2 H 2 R 2 ER 3 K HR
Prospect Watch: The Storm had the early lead at the Diamond until the Grizzlies put seven unanswered runs on the board, including the team’s first grand slam of the year in the five-run seventh inning. After Gabriel Morales loaded the bases, Chase Walter came in with no outs and gave up the slam. Walter gave up a single before a flyout and then three straight strikeouts – a wild pitch on the second one allowed the batter to reach – for a truly unusual one inning pitching line. … Coming out of last year’s draft, many considered Robert Hassell III the best pure high school hitter in the country, and he has shown that with a .309/.406/.450 line in Low-A at 19. More surprising in his play this year are his solid defensive center field, and value on the bases. Saturday, he stole base his 26th base in 32 attempts, good for fourth in the Low-A West. In a system that has been diluted by the many trades of the past 18 months, the Storm has the most young offensive talent in the system with Hassell, Joshua Mears and a pair of breakout prospects switch-hitting catcher Brandon Valenzuela and infielder Euribiel Angeles. Angeles returned to the lineup for the first time in nine days Saturday and picked up right where he left off with two hits. The 19-year-old, still dealing with a sore throwing shoulder, came back as the designated hitter.
ACL Mariners 8, ACL Padres 6 (7 Innings)
Key Statistics: SS Jackson Merrill 1-3, BB; DH River Ryan 1-3, 2B, BB; LF Lucas Dunn 1-2, 2 BB; RF Willmert Paula 1-2, 3B, BB; RHP Reinier Parra (L, 0-2) 2 H 4 R 2 ER 3 BB 2 K; RHP Miguel Rondon 2.0 IP 2 K
Prospect Watch: It’s early – let’s move on from the requisite small sample size phrase – but Jackson Merrill, is off to a nice start in his first five professional games. In 17 plate appearances, the left-handed-hitting middle infielder has six hits, including a double and a triple to go along with a pair of walks. The Padres’ first-round pick was described in our post-draft interviews as someone who has a great feel for the game. In our interview before he signed with San Diego, he very much came across as someone who wanted to get on the field as quickly as possible. … The Padres called River Ryan as a pitcher when they selected him as their eleventh round pick, but the 22-year-old has made his first two professional appearances as a designated hitter. The club has given some consideration to allowing the UNC-Pembroke product to develop as a two-way player. In college, he hit .349/.419/.566 as a second baseman and also threw 51.2 innings mainly as a relief pitcher with 68 strikeouts against only 18 walks and 39 hits.